News and information for local businesses - 14 December

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Plymouth business news

14 December 2020

Please find below an overview of the latest business advice and guidance. In today's newsletter you will find news and updates including:

  • Plymouth businesses urged to apply for grant funding quickly
  • Progress being made on Spend 4 Plymouth
  • Street trading fees set to stay the same next year
  • Updated guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England
  • Reduced VAT rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions
  • Brexit transition: time is running out
  • UK secures vital rollover trade deal with Canada
  • ExportAR Marine
  • South West taxpayers urged: Don’t miss the Self Assessment deadline!
  • Free Digital and Technical Bootcamps
  • Virtual events/webinars
  • Funding streams/competitions

If you have any specific concerns or are in need of support, please contact us.

Plymouth businesses urged to apply for grant funding quickly

Plymouth City Council is reminding eligible businesses to apply for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) and the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) by 17 December to ensure they receive the funding before the end of the year. The grants aim to support businesses that have been severely impacted by coronavirus restrictions.

All applications made by 17 December will be processed before Christmas, with the aim of making payment by the end of the calendar year (around 29 December). Any applications made from 18 December onwards will then be processed from early January. 

The grants helpline, which offers support and guidance to applicants, will be open until 4pm on Christmas Eve and will then close for the Christmas period, re-opening at 9am on Monday 4 January.

The LRSG can be claimed by businesses that were legally required to close during the recent national restrictions (from 5 November to 2 December 2020) and which also pay business rates.

Businesses that claim through the LRSG and are eligible for further grants due to the Tier 2 restrictions will be contacted automatically by the Council with details of how to apply for further funding.

The ARG is available to support businesses that:

  • were legally required to close under the national restrictions (from 5 November to 2 December 2020) but were not eligible for the LRSG as they do not pay business rates, or pay packaged rent and rates
  • weren’t legally required to close but have suffered a significant loss in turnover (more than 30 per cent) as a result of the national restrictions

Find out more about the business grants, including full eligibility criteria and details of how to apply, on the Invest Plymouth website.

Progress being made on Spend 4 Plymouth

The team at Plymouth City Council and key stakeholders across the city are pushing forward to ensure the success of Resurgam’s Spend 4 Plymouth pillar, and significant progress has already been made.

An update was shared by Holly Golden, Head of Procurement at the Council at a recent Cabinet meeting, which can be viewed online.

One of the Council’s key aims for Spend 4 Plymouth was to increase spending with local suppliers by 10 per cent over the next two years. This is already well on the way to being achieved, with 60 per cent of Council spending in the first six months of the financial year going to local suppliers. This equates to 12 per cent above target and approximately £21 million more being spent locally than last year, with more than 1,200 unique suppliers – representing 56 per cent of the Council’s total unique supplier base.

The Council is now focusing on maintaining this spend, which would ultimately mean supporting 280 local jobs and generating an additional £8.2 million Gross Value Added (GVA) for 2020/1.

Find out more here

Street trading fees set to stay the same next year

Plymouth City Council has confirmed that there will be no increase in fees for street traders during 2021/2022, following a licensing committee meeting last week.

Usually street trading fees increase by around 1.5 per cent each year, reflecting the rise in associated costs. However there will be no additional charges for the next financial year, as the Council looks to encourage new traders and support existing traders that have been affected due to coronavirus and the subsequent lack of footfall.

The city’s street trading sites throughout the city centre and waterfront play an important role, bringing vibrancy to the streets and making Plymouth a more colourful place to visit.

Find out more here

Updated guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England

This guidance sets out restrictions on certain businesses and venues in England under the different local COVID alert levels.

The information about business and venue closures in England has been updated, reflecting the introduction of local restriction tiers that came into effect on 2 December 2020.

Find out more here

Reduced VAT rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions

If you’re a VAT registered business, check if you can temporarily reduce the rate of VAT on supplies relating to hospitality, accommodation, or admission to certain attractions. 

The temporary reduced rate will apply to supplies that are made between 15 July 2020 and 31 March 2021.

Find out more here

Brexit transition: time is running out

There are new rules for businesses and citizens from 1 January 2021.

With just 18 days to go, make sure you are ready. Your business, family, and personal circumstances will be affected. Use the Brexit checker to get a personalised list of actions. You can also sign up for emails to get updates for what you need to do.

Find out more here

UK secures vital rollover trade deal with Canada and agrees to start negotiating more advanced deal next year

The UK and Canada have locked in their existing trading relationship, worth £20 billion, and agreed to begin negotiating a new more ambitious trade deal as early as next year.

The agreement paves the way for negotiations to begin in 2021 on a new tailor-made UK-Canada trade deal, with the potential to go further in areas like digital trade, the environment and women’s economic empowerment.

Find out more here

ExportAR Marine

The Department for International Trade South West, Business West and AR specialists Render are launching the first-of-its-kind immersive augmented reality (AR) platform for cross-border sales within the Marine sector. 

The ExportAR: Marine initiative will be delivered cost-free to 3 successful applicants, and will allow companies to showcase their Marine-Tech product in real-time to an international audience using a bespoke smartphone or tablet application. UK sellers will be able to present their product and communicate in real-time to international buyers in target markets using AR.

To apply to take part in the ExportAR initiative you'll need to submit an application by midnight Wednesday 16 December using the link below. As this is a pilot project, spaces are limited and the initiative is currently only able to support 3 successful applications.

Find out more here

South West taxpayers urged: Don’t miss the Self Assessment deadline!

With the busy festive season approaching, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is calling on the South West’s one million Self Assessment customers not to miss the 31 January deadline, with over 30,000 just in Plymouth.

The 2019-20 tax return can be finalised at any time up to the deadline but HMRC is encouraging customers to complete it early to allow for more time to pay their tax bill or set up a payment plan.

Find out more here

Free Digital and Technical Bootcamps for residents in Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay

The Digital and Technical Bootcamps offer adults aged 19+ free, high quality, digital and technical training designed by industry to meet their open and live vacancies. The bootcamps are recruiting now, ready to begin in January, have been designed for people out of work, returning to work, or in-work who are looking to advance their skills into industries that are set to grow or are resilient to the current economic downturn.

With ten different bootcamps to choose from, there are opportunities to move into cyber, data science, software, digital marketing, IT, digital for healthcare, welding, photonics, engineering, construction or electronics for renewables or automotive. The training is completely free and comes with a guaranteed interview for everyone completing the bootcamp.

Find out more here

Virtual events/webinars

For further information on the latest events, or to upload and promote yours, visit Invest Plymouth's event page.

You can also submit your own events here


Meet the Market Expert: Agri-Tech

Department for International Trade | Tuesday 15 December

Bringing over 50 global Commercial Trade Officers direct to your screens with their second virtual 'Meet the Market Expert' event and first for the Agri-Tech sector. The event will take place on 15 December 2020.

Eager to meet ambitious South West of England Agri-Tech companies, the Commercial Trade Officers can advise you on your target market suitability and will be able to make introductions to the connections that matter. 

Find out more here


Introduction to the operation of a 360° immersive Dome

Real Ideas | Wednesday 16 December

Opening in Spring 2021, the Market Hall will be a world-class space for creative, digital, and immersive experiences, situated in the heart of historic Devonport, Plymouth. The impressive new extension to the historical building will host the 15m diameter immersive dome – inspired by the dome at SAT in Montreal and the first of its kind in Europe, the space invites you to explore immersive realities, without the need for a VR headset, opening up a world of incredible creative and immersive experiences.

Find out more here


Future Plymouth 2030

University of Plymouth | Various dates, beginning 16 December 

Future Plymouth 2030 is a series of fortnightly webinars to be delivered online from now until May 2021 on a whole host of topics ranging from the practical skills and technologies required to design and build better performing new buildings, how to tackle retrofitting existing buildings, biodiversity and carbon sequestration to behaviour change required to achieve any of this. More topics are emerging as partners are engaging and the programme is really taking shape.

Get booked up and take part in this useful series of toolkit talks and debate, to learn, share and take practical steps towards a sustainable future for Plymouth!

Find out more here


Smart Sound Connect

Oceansgate Marine Technology Webinar Series | Wednesday 16 December

Plymouth Sound is to be home to the world’s first ocean-based 5G marine testbed, putting the city at the very forefront of marine and maritime innovation.

The 5G network, known as Smart Sound Connect, will be provided free for eligible businesses to use for the development of new marine technology and will give them consistent coverage out on the water. Use cases have already been identified in areas including advanced applied autonomy, clean propulsion, smart ports and smart shipping.

The full testbed will be available from early 2021 and will also form the basis of a proposed virtualised testing platform.


Marine Business Technology Centre (MBTC) Christmas Networking Event

Marine Business Technology Centre | Thursday 17 December

Despite very challenging circumstances for all of us, the MBTC has enjoyed another successful year.  Building on 2019, the programme has worked with nearly 300 businesses and has helped to develop a number of cutting edge marine technology solutions with Devon-based SMEs.

Following an introduction from the MBTC Team and case studies from some of their supported businesses, they are offering a chance to break out for discussions with research partners covering the areas of applied autonomy, clean propulsion, MBTC innovation grants and the new test tank array.

Find out more here

Funding streams and competitions

Government Launches General Export Facility for Small Businesses

The General Export Facility (GEF) has been launched by UK Export Finance (UKEF) in partnership with commercial banks. The scheme will offer exporters access to working capital they need to recover from coronavirus (COVID-19). The aim is to transform UKEF’s offer to smaller businesses, encouraging them to export and take advantage of new free trade agreements.

Find out more here


£20m to grow medicines manufacturing in the UK

New £20m fund to manufacture medicines and diagnostic equipment in the UK. The fund will put the UK ahead in medicines manufacturing, creating economic opportunities and highly skilled jobs across the country.

The fund will supports the government’s ambitions to build back better, ensuring greater resilience in UK medicines supply chains.

Find out more here


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